Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

2018-2019 Flu season could be "unpredictable"

2018-2019 Flu season could be

From noon to 6 p.m., one auto after another pulled up to the clinic, with drivers and passengers vaccinated and on their way in as little as five minutes.

Sure, it may still feel like summer.

Scientists conduct studies each year to determine how well the influenza (flu) vaccine protects against flu illness.

Beginning this week, Oneida county and other health departments in the region have gotten in the first of this year's vaccine. He never even needed to get out of his auto.

The shots at the drive-thru were convenient but not necessarily free. They cost $35 for standard vaccines, and $65 for high-dose vaccines for people 65 and older.

Maria Otterholt says the best time to get a flu vaccination is as soon as it's available...

Dr. Katherine O'Brien, who was awarded the Canada 150 Research Chair in Vaccinology and Global Health at Dalhousie University and is to begin work at the university on December 1, said the complexity of influenza strains makes matching vaccinations hard. Getting vaccinated before flu season is in full swing offers the best protection, experts say.

That's why the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention says the best time to get a flu shot is ASAP - by the end of October, at the latest.

If you do not have insurance, the vaccine is $25 or $55 for a high dosage shot, which is recommended for those 65 and older. Anyone who is pregnant, an older individual. Further, the formulation of the vaccine itself is reviewed and updated each year in response to the continuously changing flu viruses. There were also 150 deaths, including five children, in Georgia. True enough, there were over 30,000 laboratory confirmed influenza-related hospitalization from October 1, 2017 through April 28, 2018, and reported 180 pediatric deaths as of August 25, 2018.

"However, [the flu shot] can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later", the CDC says in a flu shot advisory.

According to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics all eligible children should receive the flu shot and the spray mist is to be used only for children who refuse the shots or for paediatricians who have run out of the flu shots. While we can never fully predict how the virus will affect the population each year, the flu vaccine is the best protection we have against it.

Those who pass on getting flu shots may have second thoughts about skipping them this year. Nearly 80 percent of the children who had lost their lives from the last season's flu was not vaccinated. About 2,000 USA adults were surveyed.

Among parents with children younger than 18 who were not immunized last year, 26 percent said their children will be vaccinated this year, according to the survey.

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